30,000 people in South Tyneside set to miss out on council tax rebate - this is how to make sure you get it
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in February 2022 that taxpayers in band A to D homes across the country would get a one-off payment to help with the cost of living crisis.
However the money will only be automatically sent into people’s bank accounts from April if they pay their council tax bill via direct debit.
Councils across the North East have confirmed there are around 323,000 band A to D households in the region that do not use direct debit to pay their council tax.
While many councils are encouraging residents to sign up for direct debits if they are able to do so, others are awaiting guidance from government on how other people will be able to access the council tax energy rebate.
South Tyneside Council has said there are around 30,000 band A to D households who do not pay council tax via direct debit and are urging residents to sign up.
Councillor Joanne Bell, cabinet member for resources and innovation, said the situation was a “logistical nightmare” with councils left to administer the government cash.
Speaking at the Jarrow and Boldon Community Area Forum (CAF) on Thursday, March 10, the council boss praised council staff for working to contact eligible residents.
“The residents who pay by direct debit we have their details, that’s not a problem, the problem is those who don’t pay by direct debit where we’re not aware of how to get that payment to them,” Cllr Bell explained.
“So the teams are going to have to work doubly hard to find those people and to find out how they can get that money to them, unless they actually do come to pay by direct debit.
“So it’s not as easy as the government say [that] you will all have the money by the end of this month.
“Unfortunately, those people [who don’t pay by direct debit] may take a little bit longer because the onus is now going to be on them to contact us to actually be able to pay that money.”
Cllr Bell, who sits on the CAF as a ward councillor for Boldon Colliery, was speaking following an area update from South Tyneside Homes.
Councillors heard that work would take place to contact all properties in the borough which are eligible for the £150 tax rebate.
A leaflet is expected to go out with council tax bills asking residents to inform the council as to how they want the payment made.
Cllr Bell, speaking after the CAF, said the council was still “awaiting clarity” from Government on other options for those who do not sign up to direct debit but added an”application process” would be likely for these customers.
The council chief also urged residents who do not pay council tax by direct debit to sign up as soon as is practical to “ensure that they receive their energy council tax rebate as smoothly as possible”.
Cllr Bell went on to say: “I am disappointed that the Government has not thought through the significant practicalities at a time when bills are being issued to households for the new financial year.
“But I can assure residents that everyone will get the money that they are entitled to.
“We have a proven track record in supporting households to access support that is due to them.
“Unlike many other councils South Tyneside retains a local welfare scheme supporting those most in need at times of crisis.
“The welfare support team has supported customers to access over £3.5million in owed benefits and income in the last year.”
Residents looking to pay council tax by direct debit are urged to get in touch with South Tyneside Council.
This can be done via the website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/counciltax or by calling 0191 427 7000.